Work-Life Balance Tips
As a woman at the helm of a busy career, your greatest test yet is finding work-life balance between constant round-the-clock demands of work and family. Responsibilities pile up quickly, stress becomes overwhelming, and sleep falls to the very bottom of your to-do list.
If this sounds familiar, try adding some of these tips to your daily routine, so you’re better prepared to meet every challenge you face, both at work and at home.
1. Keep a Family Budget Calendar
A budget is a useful tool for keeping track of your cash flow every month and making sure that all your family’s expenses are covered. Putting your budget in calendar form creates a visual representation of the incoming and outgoing cash, making it easy to keep tabs on your financial responsibilities at a glance. To keep everyone on the same page, create a budget calendar for your family and put it in a place where everyone can see it. That way, the whole family can work together to stay accountable to the plan and make sure bills get paid on time.
2. Exercise in 10-20 Minute Bursts
Keeping your body fit and healthy is one of the most effective ways to maintain a high energy level and focused mind throughout the day. Working out doesn’t need to be another challenge in and of itself, though. Instead of trying to squeeze a full hour into an already packed schedule, try getting your heart pumping in just 10-20 minute bursts. In a study done by McMaster University, a ten-minute interval training session, which included only one minute total of strenuous exertion, proved to be just as effective at improving fitness as a 45-minute session of continuous moderate activity. So get creative and take advantage of small breaks during the day to get your body moving.
3. Prepare Everything the Night Before
To make better use of your time, spend the end of each day preparing for the next. Plan out the most important tasks you’ll need to get done the following day so that when you wake up, your mind will already be focused on those critical to-dos. Prep your meals the night before, or even the week before, so that you don’t need to spend time planning and preparing them in the midst of a busy day. Pack everything you need for tomorrow before you go to bed tonight, including your meals, documents, gym or work clothes. That way you won’t forget anything in your morning rush to get out the door.
4. Make Better Use of the Internet
If you’re stuck in a digital rut and haven’t looked beyond the boundary of your work inbox lately, it’s time to hit “refresh.” The Internet can connect busy parents to resources that help manage every responsibility from writing e-mails, to shopping, to organizing your ever-expanding to-do list. Smart digital assistants, like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Echo with Alexa, can help streamline a myriad of micro-tasks. They can quickly search for information, set alarms, make calls, schedule events, compose e-mails, and help you check in with remote team members. Other tools, like Evernote, Basecamp or Todoist, can aid in keeping all your responsibilities organized. You can also try different coupon apps, like SnipSnap or Yowza, to score deals when shopping or traveling.
5. Arm Yourself with a Few Secret Weapons
A secret weapon can be anything relevant to your work or home life that helps you out in a pinch. It might be a pair of high heels that you keep in the car for an unexpected meeting. It could be an instant-read thermometer in your purse for when your child suddenly comes down with the flu. Maybe it’s a backup phone charger, or a relative willing to be an emergency babysitter. Think of all the sticky situations you’ve encountered in the past where you felt unprepared, and think of a solution you can have at the ready for the next time that problem arises. A little preparation now can save you a headache down the road.
6. Take Care of Yourself – Seriously
This is often one of the toughest realities for working women to accept: the need to take care of yourself. There’s always something else that needs to get done, whether it’s for your business or your family, and doing something for yourself can feel like a form of neglect to those other areas of your life. But remember that caring for yourself isn’t a selfish act; it’s a form of responsibility by itself. In order to be present in the moment, to stay on point at work, and to be engaged at home, you need to keep yourself in working order. So don’t be afraid to take downtime after a busy day, and don’t forget to do what you need in order to keep your mind and body healthy. The better you take care of yourself, the better you’ll be able to perform for others.
Please share your thoughts and comments
How well have you been maintaining your work-life balance? Which of these tips resonate with you the most? Which will you try this week? Please let us know in the comment box below!
Special thanks for the contribution from Emma Bailey. Emma Bailey is a freelance writer and blogger based in the Midwest. After going to college in Florida she relocated to Chicago, where she now lives with a roommate and two rabbits. She specializes in covering personal finance and business topics for women.